Where's the option not to build a new highway?

To the editor:

Comment sheets for the planned Mid-State Corridor are now available in local libraries until March 23, 2020. I find it disturbing that respondents are asked to rank the alternatives, but there is no option to choose not to build any of them.

A major stated purpose and “need” for this highway is to create a new route for expansion of the trucking industry, and to bring more trucking-dependent industry to the region with a major focus on the Dale to Haysville portion through which ALL routes pass. This highway is not a need, but the desire of a few, and all the alternative routes would have similar negative effects.

1. Have disastrous impacts on area forests, farms, wetlands, wildlife, farmers, and other landowners by taking land from unwilling local owners, and opening up more widespread areas to sprawl and development.

2. Cause a rise in local expenditures for services as well as a rise in taxes, divide communities, and drive people out of business.

3. Interstates everywhere import crime as well as exacerbate air pollution, and often become the sites of unwanted industries such as the proposed Coal to Diesel Refinery.

4. Jeopardize the rural character of the region — a major reason why people enjoy living and visiting here.

5. Obsolete before it would be paid for by our great grandchildren, if then, this highway would contribute to already dangerous levels of climate-changing CO2 in the atmosphere.

These are just some of the ways that the quality of life in rural Southern Indiana would be diminished if this highway were built — no matter which route. Frequently, especially in a world of such rapid change, doing without such unnecessary, wildly expensive flim-flam is the best option, and we’d be better off working instead to deal with the problems we already have rather than inviting new ones.

Let’s keep our good way of life, fix what is broken, and let go of the myth that a new highway would somehow make life better anywhere. Clearly, the no-build, common-sense option is the wisest choice which would have the most lasting benefits for this region and its inhabitants.

—Jeanne Melchior

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